- Jan 15, 2008
Dakar looks at alternatives, South America tops list
Following the unfortunate cancellation of this year's Dakar rally, race organizers are examining a number of potential alternatives to permanently move the race away from northern Africa. Last year's race had stages canceled due to security considerations, but this year's event, which would have been going on right now, was the first to be cancelled in the rally's history. With reports now suggesting that the French foreign ministry's urging to cancel was based on direct threats from Al Qaeda to the Dakar rally itself, last year's modified race will likely have been the last to run the traditional, if oft-modified, route.
ASO – the French outfit that organizes the event, along with the famous Tour de France bicycle race – has considered a number of alternatives, including Dubai, Australia, and even running the distance from Paris all the way to Beijing, but reports are now suggesting that following the offer from the Chilean tourism minister, a deal has already been signed to hold the rally beginning next year on a route from Argentina to Chile and back.
Although the South American rally likely won't happen this year, when it does it will likely revert to Dakar's traditional January 1 starting gun and take the place of the Pampas Rally in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.